Leeds coach Brian McDermott has called on the match officials in tonight’s Challenge Cup quarter-final with Leigh to adopt the mantra of infamous referee Fred Lindop and nip any ‘old-school stuff’ in the bud quickly tonight.
The Rhinos clash with the Centurions in unfamiliar surroundings at Featherstone’s LD Nutrition Stadium, owing to their Emerald Headingley venue already being in use for the Test between England and Pakistan.
But McDermott, appearing to refer to last week’s ill-tempered match between Leigh and Toronto at the Summer Bash, has urged the match officials to stamp out any behaviour which ‘crosses the line’ from both teams to ensure the game is played in the right way this evening.
He said: “Leigh are a good team and they’re finding some form. They can be very aggressive and play that aggressive style, and against us, they’ve got history of coming to Headingley and trying to put it on our team and our pack in particular. That can be effective and my team has got to get ready for that.
“I also think the referee on Friday night needs to be aware of that too. We can’t just put it into the realms of, ‘well, that’s just an opposition being aggressive’ – some of what those types of teams do is illegal. And they cross the line.
“Yet because it’s the Challenge Cup, I’m hoping the referee doesn’t let things go for the health of the game, or we end up with a scene like last week which didn’t do anybody any good. It didn’t do the coaches any good and it didn’t do the sport any good and we don’t want to see that.
“I’m not putting the referee at fault for that last week at all, but I have been involved in these games enough in the past where the referee, with a Fred Lindop style, can stamp his authority early on and say: ‘that ain’t going on today. If you’re going to beat Leeds or if Leeds are going to beat Leigh, you do it through skill, toughness and aggression. You don’t do it through old-school, which nobody wants to see.'”